Monday, September 26, 2011

September 12, 2011

Hello everybody-
So far so great! I am enjoying everything so far. The first thing I noticed that I liked the best was the fact that there are so many Elders and Sisters here with the same objective - to carry the Spirit of Christ. I have never felt the Holy Ghost as often and as much as I do in these halls and rooms. I will write as fast as possible with the countdown well on its way towards 0:00. My companion, Elder Werner, is from Hershey, Pennsylvania. There are 12 Elders in my district, no Sisters. We are all getting along great. 9 of them are 19 years old, there is one 20 year old, and one 24 year old. The 24 year old, Elder Broach, is from Alaska and was baptized just 3 years ago. 5 of us in the district are going to Porto Alegre North and the other 7 are going to Fortaleza, all in Brazil. There are many other Elders in the Missionary Training Center who are waiting on visas as well. I am not sure what would happen if my visa comes while I am here, but it seems like most of the Brazil bound missionaries are here for a full 9 weeks. I met Elder Stevens, but he is in a different district so we do not get to see each other much. There are firesides each Sunday and Tuesday and yesterday's was in commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. Our mission president here, President Gordon D. Brown, led it, but we mainly watched a couple videos, including the edition of Music and the Spoken Word from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Tom Brokaw was the host, and despite the actions being led out in anger, it was made all the more clear to me that we do have a loving Heavenly Father above us, watching us use our agency for either the good or bad. The portuguese language has been fun and challenging. I feel as though the words uttered from President Criddle as I got set apart are truly being made manifest, that I have been given a "measure of the gift of tongues". On Friday, they sat us down with our first investigator and we carried out a conversation as best we could. I feel fairly comfortable praying, bearing my testimony, and some brief introductions. I'm sure this week will have similar growth. As I have been able to get around other Elders with different experiences from their lives, the thing I can single out for today that I am most grateful for is the ability to make decisions. I have been blessed with many opportunities (football, school, etc.) which have allowed this strength to develop in me and I find myself trying to share those experiences with the Elders in my district during interviews and when I see some of them struggling to decide what to do during the personal study time we are given. Today, Monday, will be our preparation-day while I am here at the MTC. We just got back from the Provo temple. It has beautiful grounds, and I have a few pictures that at some point I will figure out how I can send them. Which brings up me saying thank you for the replacement camera whoever spear headed that. I do not know how the first one broke, but when I got out of the car to get dropped off by Caleb and Brooke, we tried taking a picture and the screen was cracked. It was neat seeing them for a few minutes before we got rushed into the business of checking in, orientation, and the rest of the first day activites. I have seen a couple of missionaries from Reno- Elder Calinog and Sister Forman. That was neat to see familiar faces and have them share about some of their experience up to this point. Elder Higbee and I have seen each other a few times since we reported, but since we speak different languages and he different residences, we don't see each other very much. I have received a couple of letters through which has been awesome. It is neat to get a letter during the middle of the week. Also, any hand written letters can be addressed to
Elder Nicholas Raymond Graziano
MTC Mailbox # 163
BRA-PAN 1108
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793
Thank you everybody for your friendship and support and prayers. We missionaries can absolutely feel the support of so many prayers that are offered daily on our behalf. I look forward to updating again next week and maybe by then I will know how I can get some pictures to you. Love you all,
Elder Graziano

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